Skip to content

Tag: politics

Anthropogenic Climate Change Denial: Lobbyists and Libertarians

At Moon of Alabama, B unleashed the gates of hell in a recent post taking on climate change: Trump Administration Acknowledges Climate Change – Predicts Large Rise In Global Temperatures. His essay was fairly innocuous musings on humankind’s carbon footprint.

Strangely the start of the comment section looked like an attack of the Catholic church on heretics in sixteenth century Spain. Most of these writers made claims that since we weren’t all dead yet, all talk of carbon footprint or climate change or anthropogenic damage to the ecosphere are nonsense. For instance hopehelly @46 wrote:

I remember when they said acid rain will kill all forests. And the ozone holes will make us all sunburned and riddled with skin cancer. They do not talk much about acid rain and ozone holes nowadays – are those issues fixed?

A few comments later @72, the commenter oldhippie noted skin cancer is way, way up. When we were children (I’m in early fifties) it was still relatively safe to play in the sun for hours even without sunscreen. These days we keep our children out of the sun almost completely and slather sunscreen on the few exposed parts.

Leave a Comment

The Trouble with Comments (on alternative media)

If you are short of time, just skip to the Six Battle-tested Rules to Help Publishers Nurture an Intelligent Comments Section.

I’ve been participating very actively in political conversations on various alternative sites for the last six months and recently over at MoonOfAlabama.org. I’ve also been involved in a very involved internal comments-or-not debate for a high profile and widely read international political site recently. Professionally at Foliovision, we develop what is the most powerful freestanding (software, not a service) comment moderation software, Thoughtful Comments1. Commenting has been on my mind would be an understatement.

MoonOfAlabama is not the only anti-Empire alternative media site who suffers from comment issues. Here’s a short list of some sites with whose comment sections I’m very familiar.

Leave a Comment

How to defang machine enhanced human trolls

Over at MoonofAlabama.org, the publisher b faces an ongoing battle with ever more sophisticated professional posters. These posters appear to be part of the (dis)information services of one government or another (US DoD, MI5 among others have openly advertised such vacancies over at least the last two years.

The rules over at MoA are fairly strict. Simple name calling or out and out falsehood or MSM appeals to authority (i.e. NY Times) won’t fly there. So visiting would-be trolls are always experimenting with new techniques.

The latest tactic is early thread jacking. There’s a character by the name of Paul who always posts an anti-Russia or anti-Putin diatribe, whatever the post subject. Defanging his venom always grabs the attention of a few of the keenest mind and any thread quickly goes off track. If the deliberate derailing wasn’t bad enough, “Paul” now posts first on a regular basis, killing every thread dead in his tracks. Whoever is posting as Paul is clearly using software to get new post alerts.

1 Comment

Letter to a friend about the environment, leadership

The funny thing about those people favouring fracking and who don’t care about the plastic pollution in the oceans or the disappearing potable water is that the environment affects us all. More and more people die from cancer from our toxic environment and food. If we don’t wake up as a species, we will literally destroy our own habitat. There will be very little worth fighting over.

And none of it has to be this way if we were to reshape capitalism to make preservation and improvement of the environment our highest goal. Nothing to prevent us making health care and education a secondary priority. Particularly the second is very environmentally friendly. Young people reading books and improving their minds has very little carbon effect.

1 Comment

Did Donald Trump Jr. and the Trump Campaign Collude with Vladimir Putin

There’s a great deal of noise right now about Donald Trump’s contacts with Russia and particularly a couple of emails his son Donald Trump Jr.’s interaction with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Those who should know better have suggested that Russia and its president Vladimir Putin were directly seeking to interfere with the US Presidential election. Remedies include Trump’s impeachment and some kind of war with Russia. This viewpoint strikes me as both highly naive not to mention deeply hypocritical.

Leave a Comment

Ai Weiwei Never Sorry – Assange’s Chinese Shadow

Imagine being a world famous artist. Imagine designing national monuments. Imagine thinking that you are invulnerable to repression. Imagine speaking out against human rights abuses at your country’s Olympics (Olympics for which you designed stadiums). Imagine being warned to shut your fat trap. Imagine you keep talking. Imagine that a few months later they come to arrest you and lock you away for 81 days. Imagine you come back with the strict warning that if you continue to make an international media spectacle damaging to the regime which is buttering your bread, you will go away not for three months but forever.

If your imagination is rich, you will have just lived the three years of artist Ai Weiwei’s life who for many years had a blessed position as Lear’s fool in Beijing. His nonsense answers and ironic commentary on the regime probably even amused the higher party bosses. A useful fool.

Leave a Comment